A little over a week ago we took a look into Michael Brantley’s batted ball profile as some were pointing out he was swinging and missing as well as striking out a little more than we were used to pre-2016 Michael Brantley.
His strikeout rate, swinging strike rate and contact rate were solid for most big leaguers, but in 2014-15, Brantley was hardly any big league hitter. A year away from the game and two major surgeries on a shoulder would affect any hitter. So, naturally there was some wonder that Brantley’s skills might permanently be affected by the injury and surgery and if this was his new normal.
Brantley, the Indians and myself find your lack of faith disturbing.
It’s only been nine days since that post and chart but he’s already shown more positive improvement.
Especially over the last three games his walk rate saw a bump back up, higher than his swinging strike rate as well as another tick upwards in his contact rate. Since last week he’s had three games where he had four plate appearances and didn’t swing and miss once.
The other good news is that the rest of Brantley’s batted ball profile falls in line near his 2014 and career.
Even if the strikeout rate or swinging strike rate stays near where it is now, as opposed to pre-injury levels, it really looks like Brantley is adjusting to being an everyday play again rather than showing ill affects or surgery or injury, just simply time off. The only number that’s still got a way to go is his overall contact rate (85.9 vs. 91.2 career). Don’t be surprised if by the All-Star break if Brantley is up near 90% in the contract rate range either.